Poster C2, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Increased neural response to wins over losses with older adults: Examining the positivity bias in aging
Anna McCarrey1,2, Joshua Goh2,3, Vijay Venkatraman4, Claudia Wolf2, Gabriela Gomez2, Susan Resnick2; 1Idaho State University, 2National Institute on Aging, 3National Taiwan University College of Medicine, 4University of Melbourne
The goal of this study was to investigate neural response to positive and negative events in a large sample of 309 healthy older adults (47.2% male; mean age: 70.3±12.2 years) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Participants experienced win (positive) and loss (negative) events whilst playing a risk-taking task. For each trial, participants chose to accept or decline point offers, with a stipulated probability of winning. The instructions were to win as many points as possible. The magnitude of points offered and probability of winning varied across 72 trials. Feedback was given after each risky decision was made. Accepting an offer resulted in either a win or a loss; declining an offer resulted in neither. Two functional EPI scans were acquired per participant with 180 volumes per scan (2s TR, 37 axial slices, and 1.87*1.87*3.93 mm3 voxels). Whole brain analyses were performed using SPM8 and voxels were considered significantly activated at p < .05 corrected for the familywise error rate. Results showed significantly increased activation during feedback for wins relative to losses in several brain regions, including the visual cortex, cerebellum and posterior cingulate cortex. There were no regions that showed increased activation for losses relative to wins. Heightened neural sensitivity to wins over losses in this older sample could not be explained by age, sex or risk profile. Taken together, these findings lend support for Socioemotional Selectivity Theory and suggest a neural pathway by which older adults experience increased sensitivity for positive over negative events.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Development & aging